Our Savior has probably seen just about everything, but we’re pretty sure Jesus did a face-palm when a teenage boy violated His statue, snapped a lewd selfie, and posted it on Facebook.
The Smoking Gun reports the 14-year-old — who has not been
murdered named by police because he is white a juvenile — took the photo on the front lawn of a religious organization in Everett, Pennsylvania.
The photo shows the boy bending in front of the Jesus statue in a way that makes it look like Our Savior is… erm… showing him a good time. We can’t tell whether this desecrator of statues brought a tripod with him or had a friend take the photo.
On September 9, police charged the boy with “desecration of a venerated object,” a misdemeanor that will be tried in juvenile court and which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
Yet, Love Inc.’s Executive Director Bev Patten, told WTAJ she was heartbroken when she saw that photo on Facebook.
“It really breaks my heart — it just breaks my heart. It just hurts me to the core.”
Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins added:
“He bragged about it — he was proud of it. He put it on his Facebook page and now he’s going to be held accountable for it. The only reason that was done was to offend people — to upset people and if you want to engage in that type of behavior there are consequences.”
People contacted the ministry to berate them for pressing charges, but Patten claims Love, Inc. hasn’t — especially since the boy did come by to apologize.
“You know we’ve been praying for salvation for him and just that he would realize what he had done was wrong. All that I’ve wanted for the man is the best for him and I know that’s what the ministry wants for him.”
WTAJ adds that if the judge sentences the boy to community service, Love, Inc. welcomes him to serve his sentence with them.
But… is desecrating a Jesus statue against the law?
According to WTAJ the charge of “desecrating a venerable object” is rarely leveled against anyone. And according to Eugene Volokh — a law professor and Washington Post blogger, the charge may not even hold up in court.
Here’s the legal text:
A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he:
(1) intentionally desecrates any public monument or structure, or place of worship or burial;
(2) intentionally desecrates any other object of veneration by the public or a substantial segment thereof in any public place; …
Definitions. — “Desecrate.” Defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action.
Volokh writes that, unless the boy
is black has a prior criminal record, the judge is unlikely to punish him with anything more severe than probation and community service. Also, the law is non-discriminatory because it applies to all venerated objects, not just religious ones.
Yet this case raises three legal issues: (1) The wording is overly vague; (2) No physical damage was inflicted; and (3) Can this statute override the boy’s right to free — albeit highly dubious and utterly tasteless — speech.
Here’s the video with the news report from WTAJ.